Most turtles, especially sea turtles, have a low profile, streamlined shape and flippers or webbed feet that help them swim. Tortoises, on the other hand, are specifically adapted for terrestrial life.
The gopher tortoise is the only tortoise native to Florida, and it has a high, domed shell, stumpy legs, and claws suitable for digging burrows in the sand. Sometimes they nest in dunes next to the beach, but they prefer not to swim. Recently, a gopher tortoise hatchling was admitted to the Von Arx wildlife center because it was placed in the Gulf of Mexico by someone who was "trying to help."
Learn more about the reptiles found in our area or call Von Arx directly before taking any action, to make sure the animal is actually getting help, at 239-252-CARE.